Sunday, December 30, 2007 (SF Chronicle)
ChronWatch: Solving Golden Gate Park windmill mystery Jim Herron Zamora
FYI: WINDMILL MYSTERY
Gone with the wind? Golden Gate Park's Murphy Windmill has had a rough 103-year life. Its sails have been broken off, its deck chopped off and its fantail cut away. For many years, it stood desolate and still, appearing more like an abandoned six-story wooden tower than an elegant, 55-ton windmill. In 2005, the windmill was disassembled for refurbishing, leaving only its two-story concrete base surrounded by a chain-link fence.
Many ChronicleWatch readers have wondered whether the windmill would ever be rebuilt. "There's been no observable activity on the site for years,"
Mahlon Frazer said. Well, the windmill will be reconstructed and, if all goes well, its sails will be spinning by 2009. The city had no money to refurbish the windmill, which takes its name from banker Samuel Murphy, who donated it to the city in 1905. So, a nonprofit group, called Save the Golden Gate Park Windmills, was formed to restore it and the smaller Dutch Windmill, which also sits near the northwest corner of the park. The group raised nearly $5 million to take the Murphy Windmill down and ship its antique machinery - main shaft, brake wheel, gears, fantail and sails - to the Netherlands, where it is all being restored by a Dutch company that has been designing and building windmills since 1868. Meanwhile, the windmill's timbers and its dome are in storage. A Dutch-born San Franciscan, Mark de Jong, is scheduled to reassemble its tower and dome when the restored equipment arrives.
Who's responsible: Yomi Agunbiade, director of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, (415) 831-2700; yomi.agunbiade @sfgov.org
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ON THE WATCH LIST
DAY 190 Oakland officials expect to have a new guardrail installed along 14th Street near Lake Merritt by Jan. 18.
Who's responsible: Raul Godinez II, Oakland public works director, (510) 238-3961; email@example.com
DAY 46 Berkeley plans to renovate baseball fields and make other improvements at San Pablo Park.
Who's looking into it: William Rogers, Berkeley director of Parks, Recreation & Waterfront, (510) 981-6700; parks@
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